It's Mystery Box Madness time again at I Heart Cooking Clubs where we are given a list of ten ingredients to cook with and are challenged to make a dish using at least three of the ingredients from our current IHCC chef or any of our former chefs.
September's Mystery Box Ingredients are: salmon, green peas, hazelnuts, eggplant, Parmesan cheese, kale, apples, blue cheese, rosemary, and bread rolls/buns.
I had it in my head that I was going to make a salmon recipe and had some nice King salmon pieces in the freezer but then I couldn't seem to find a recipe that included two other mystery ingredients. I then decided to go the kale route and remembered a Nigel Slater dish that had popped up when I was looking for a colcannon recipe a while back. I had bookmarked his Blue Cheese Mash with Cavolo Nero recipe and was delighted to reread it find that it included rosemary. So along with the cavolo nero (aka black kale, Tuscan kale or lacinand ato kale), blue cheese and rosemary filled the required three mystery box ingredients--and the simply grilled salmon alongside is just a bonus. ;-)
Nigel says, "An unashamedly buttery mash with bright green cabbage and a blue cheese and rosemary butter. Comfort food at the highest level."
Blue Cheese Mash with Cavolo Nero
Nigel Slater via TheGuardian.com
floury potatoes 1kg (about 2.2 lbs)
cavolo nero (kale) 100g (about 3.5 ounces)--I used one medium bunch of kale
butter 150g (about 5.3 oz)
rosemary, 3 sprigs
blue cheese such as Cashel Blue 150g (about 5.3 oz)
(I added about 1/3 cup coconut creamer--see Notes/Results below)
Peel the potatoes, cut them into large pieces and cook in lightly
salted boiling water for about 20 minutes till tender. While the
potatoes are cooking, remove the stems from the cavolo nero and chop
them into small pieces. Shred the leaves and set aside.
When the potatoes are tender to the point of a knife, drain them and
mash with 35g of the butter. Place a lid or cloth over the pan to keep
Melt 25g of the butter in a shallow pan, add the chopped stems and
cook for 4-5 minutes till tender, then remove from the pan, leaving the
butter behind. As the stems become tender, add the shredded leaves and
cook for a couple of minutes till soft.
Melt 90g of the butter in a shallow pan, add two of the rosemary
sprigs whole then warm over a low heat. Remove the leaves from the
remaining rosemary sprig, chop very finely and add to the pan to warm.
Once the butter starts to fizz, crumble the cheese into the pan in large
To serve, divide the potatoes between four plates, making a well in
the centre of each mound, then add the cavolo nero leaves and stems.
Remove the whole sprigs of rosemary from the pan and trickle the blue
cheese butter over the potatoes and cabbage.
Notes/Results: This is a very decadent and ultra-indulgent mashed potato with it's buttery blue cheese sauce. I'd like to say the kale makes it a health food but that would be a lie. ;-) I think
some people might stay away from this recipe thinking it was too much
with the strong flavors of the blue cheese and rosemary but it actually
was not overpowering and in fact, I could have added more rosemary to the mix for my tastes. I did find my potatoes to be a bit too dry while mashing with just the 35 grams of butter (which is a bit more than 1/8 cup) so I added 1/3 cup of the only "milk" I happened to have on hand which was coconut creamer--and it definitely made the potatoes creamier. Slater's recipe is a tad finicky with how it all goes together in steps. For serving guests I would do it this because I think it looks nice on the plate with the the sauce drizzled on top but for just me, I would reduce the steps and mash it all together. I did that with the leftovers and it was just as tasty. A couple of notes on the ingredients; we are lucky to get great local lacinato kale year round here but I scored the bonus of a bunch with really young and tender leaves which are optimum for this dish as you have to do less stem removing and cooking when the leaves are more delicate. I was able to find the recommended Cashel blue cheese at Whole Foods and I really enjoyed this Irish blue cheese's creamy texture and it's tangy, but not too sharp flavor. Salmon was a great pairing for these potatoes as the flavor stands up to the stronger flavors in the dish--although if you are of a meat eating persuasion, it would go well with any simply flavored roast meat or poultry. These potatoes definitely make me think of fall (with great longing as the record-setting heat and humidity here is killing me and is expected to remain until "early winter." Ugh!) and I would happily make this again.
You can see what mystery
ingredients, recipes and chefs other participants chose for September's Mystery Box Madness Challenge by checking out the picture links
on the post at the IHCC website.